The Titanic

The Titanic was a White Star Line steamship carrying the British flag. She was built by Harland and Wolff of Belfast, Ireland, at a reported cost of $7.5 million. Her specifications were:

  • Length overall: 882.5 feet
  • Gross tonnage: 46,329 tons
  • Beam: 92.5 feet
  • Net tonnage: 24,900 tons
  • Depth 59.5 feet
  • Triple screw propulsion

On 10 April 1912, the Titanic commenced her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York, with 2,227 passengers and crew aboard. At 11:40 p.m. on the night of 14 April, traveling at a speed of 20.5 knots, she struck an iceberg on her starboard bow. At 2:20 a.m. she sank, approximately 13.5 miles east-southeast of the position from which her distress call was transmitted. Lost at sea were 1,522 people, including passengers and crew. The 705 survivors, afloat in the ship's twenty lifeboats, were rescued within hours by the Cunard Liner, Carpathia.

The wreck of the Titanic was located by a French and American team on 1 September 1985 in 12,500 feet (3,810 m) of water about 350 miles (531 km) southeast of Newfoundland, Canada. A 1986 expedition documented the shipwreck more thoroughly.

A section of the National Museum of American History's exhibition On the Water is devoted to the story of Titanic, and the National Postal Museum featured the exhibition Fire and Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic.


Prepared by the Division of Work and Industry, Transportation Collections, National Museum 
of American History, in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services, Smithsonian Institution